Nitrate Contamination of Drinking Water

An Environmental Working Group review of nearly 200,000 water sampling records found that over two million people -- including approximately 15,000 infants under the age of four months -- drank water from 2,016 water systems that were reported to EPA for violating the nitrate standard at least once between 1986 and 1995. Nitrate in drinking water at levels greater than the Federal standard of 10 parts per million can cause methemoglobinemia, a potentially fatal condition in infants commonly known as blue-baby syndrome. Agriculture is the primary source of nitrate contamination.

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